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Trading In a Financed Car: How it Works

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Life situations change all the time; from a new family member to a new hobby, the kind of vehicle you financed three years ago may not work now. Don’t worry, because dealerships are often willing to accept a trade-in that isn’t completely paid off. Here’s how it works.

Trading In a Car to a Dealer

Trading In a Financed Vehicle: How it WorksWhen you take your vehicle to a dealership, the dealer is the one that determines your trade-in’s value. They’re going to look it over, and probably start it up and take it for a drive.

After your car is looked at and appraised, you’re given an offer. Since you’re still financing your trade-in, you need enough to be able to pay off your current loan. Hopefully, you get a large enough offer that can cover the balance. If not, you must pay the rest yourself in order to sell the vehicle.

If you’re offered more than your loan’s payoff amount, the leftover cash can be used to put toward your next car’s selling price, and lower the amount you need to finance moving forward.

If you do get an offer that can cover your loan balance, the dealership writes a check that gets sent to your auto lender to pay off the loan. The lender can then remove the lien on the trade-in’s title, and the vehicle can be sold to the dealer. Remember: a financed car can’t be traded in or sold until the lien is removed from its title.

Checking for Equity on a Financed Vehicle

Having lots of equity is beneficial when you need to trade in your financed vehicle. Equity is when you owe less on the car than its cash value, and the equity is what you can use to knock down your next vehicle’s selling price. If you owe more on your car than it’s worth, it could mean trouble. We cover both sides of the equity coin.

But first, before you head to the dealership, you should get a rough idea of what the estimated value of your vehicle is so you can tell what equity position you’re in.

Remember, the actual cash value of your car is whatever a dealer offers you for it, and it may not match what you see on online valuation sites. You should also get a hold of your lender or use online services to check your current loan balance.

Luckily, it’s relatively easy enough to get an estimate on your vehicle’s trade-in value nowadays. You can use sites like NADAguides or Kelley Blue Book and enter in your car’s information and get a ballpark valuation. Compare those estimations to your financed vehicle’s loan balance.

If you owe less on the car than it’s likely to be valued at, then you’re most likely in an equity position – great! If you owe more than the vehicle’s estimated value, you’re in a negative equity position – not so great.

If your car has negative equity, the trade-in value you’re likely to get can’t help you knock down your next vehicle’s selling price, and you may not even get enough from the dealership to pay off your current loan to be able to sell the car.

If you’ve found yourself in a negative equity position, also called being upside down on your loan, how much negative equity you have is going to determine your next step. If you don’t owe much more than your loan balance, you could simply pay that difference in cash to pay off the loan and remove the lien. Or, you could give yourself a few months and work to pay down your loan to get yourself in an equity position, and then trade the financed vehicle in.

Getting the Most Out of Your Trade-In

Once you have an estimated value and your loan balance, you can walk confidently into a dealership. However, we’ve got some tips on getting the most out of your trade-in:

  • Discuss your next car’s price first. Before you reveal that you have a trade-in, work on coming to an agreement on your next vehicle’s selling price. You should treat the trade-in and your next car’s transactions separately. Once you have the vehicle’s selling price down on a buyer’s order, reveal the trade-in, and discuss that transaction separately.
  • Clean your trade-in. A dirty car may not give the best impression while it’s being appraised. Don’t clean out all your personal possessions, though, since a perfectly clean trade-in may give the impression that you’re ready to buy now, and you may lose some bargaining power, since the dealer may notice that you’re in a rush.
  • Don’t worry too much about big repairs. The dealership can usually fix large repairs for less than you can. If you spend too much on expensive repairs, you could end up putting more into the vehicle than you might be offered. Minor scratches and cabin stains are likely to be worth cleaning up, though.
  • Call around. You don’t have to settle for the first trade-in offer you get. Take time to call around to a few dealers before you drive anywhere, so you can see what your car is going for in your area. This can also give you some bargaining power.

Planning ahead is a good way to approach trading in a financed vehicle. A little bit of research, sprucing up your car, and calling around to different dealerships can really go a long way.

If you don’t like the offers you’re getting from dealers, you can always try to sell your vehicle yourself. You may be able to get more for it, but it does require more legwork on your end.

Bad Credit and Trade-Ins

Trade-ins, financed or not, are very common and usually helpful for bad credit borrowers. If you’re a borrower with less than perfect credit, you’re probably going to need a down payment to get into your next auto loan.

However, the down payment amount doesn’t need to be paid in just cash. A trade-in with equity can allow you to cover the down payment requirement of bad credit car lenders.

Typically, a bad credit lender requires a down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle’s selling price (sometimes whichever is less). The selling price of your next car, your income, and your personal situation are all going to determine how much of a down payment you’re going to need to bring to the table.

Besides helping bad credit borrowers get into an auto loan, trade-ins lower your monthly payment, since they knock down the amount you’d need to finance on your next vehicle. Since you’re lowering the amount you need to finance, you’re also saving some cash on interest charges, which can stack up if you have less than perfect credit.

Down payments and trade-ins are great resources for borrowers, and dealerships are used to buyers having both. Whatever dealer you choose to work with, they’re likely well versed in handling trade-ins, even ones that are still being financed.

Finding a Bad Credit Car Dealership

While it isn’t usually that difficult to find a dealership that can take in your financed trade-in, finding a lender that can work with your bad credit is a different story. Most traditional car lenders turn down borrowers with lower credit scores, but there are lenders equipped to deal with many different credit situations.

If you need a dealer with bad credit lending resources, get with us at Auto Credit Express. We have a network of dealerships that expands coast to coast, and we match bad credit borrowers to them for no cost. To get started, fill out our secure auto loan request form.

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Bad Credit

Can I be denied a job due to bad credit?

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Can I be denied a job due to bad credit?
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People often worry about their credit history when it comes to applying for a new credit card, a mortgage or a car loan. If you have poor credit, should you also be concerned about finding work? Can you be denied a job due to bad credit?

Let’s examine the facts.

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What is bad credit anyway?

Bad credit is basically a negative assessment of your finances based on your history of borrowing. Bad credit implies that you have a bad track record with lenders. This is most likely because you have a pattern of not paying your bills on time or defaulting on your loans.

Is it legal for employers to check my credit report?

Law and finance firms are legally required to perform credit checks on potential employees. However, other kinds of employers can also conduct credit checks on you before they hire you. But they must ask for your permission before they do so.

In many cases, a credit check will be performed by a company if the role you are applying for involves dealing with large amounts of cash.

Why might employers want to check my report?

There are many reasons an employer might want to check your report. For example, they might want to ensure that:

  • You are who you say you are.
  • You have a good track record of managing money.
  • It’s not too much of a risk to let your manage money.
  • Your financial behaviour will not affect your work performance.

Could you be rewarded for your everyday spending?

Rewards credit cards include schemes that reward you simply for using your credit card. When you spend money on a rewards card you could earn loyalty points, in-store vouchers airmiles, and more. MyWalletHero makes it easy for you to find a card that matches your spending habits so you can get the most value from your rewards.

Can an employer deny me a job due to bad credit?

Yes. According to credit reference agency Experian, if your prospective employer feels that your current financial situation could impact your ability to perform well in the role, or if your credit history shows poor financial planning, they may decide not to hire you.

Generally speaking, however, employers are more likely to be concerned about serious ‘red flags’ in your credit history, like bankruptcy rather than the odd missed payment.

In any case, employers only get access to your ‘public’ credit report. This contains your electoral roll information and any major red flags such as bankruptcies, individual voluntary arrangements and county court judgments.

They will not have access to your detailed credit repayments or your credit score.

How can I keep my credit history from affecting my ability to get a job?

If a prospective employer runs a credit check on you, ultimately you have no control over what they do with the information, including denying you a job due to bad credit.

The best thing you can do to minimise the impact of your credit on your chances of getting a job is to review your credit report beforehand.

You have the right to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Before you apply for a job or attend an interview, request your report and review it for any errors so that you can have them corrected ahead of time.

Even if there are no errors, knowing what is on your credit report puts you in a good position to answer any questions that may arise during the hiring process.

Indeed, if there’s something in your report that employers might consider a ‘red flag’, don’t panic. Instead, begin preparing an explanation to give to them. If it was, for example, caused by financial hardship beyond your control, the employer may take this into account.

Alternatively, you can contact a credit reference agency and request that a notice of correction be added to your report. This is a brief note of up to 200 words in length that explains circumstances that a lender might otherwise question.

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Refinancing Your Subprime Auto Loan

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Refinancing is a wonderful way to save money on your monthly car loan payment – but it can cost you more in the long run if you’re not careful. Refinancing when you have a subprime auto loan isn’t always as easy as refinancing a vehicle when you have good credit. Working with the right lender can help, though.

What Is Refinancing?

Refinancing is when you replace your existing car loan with a different one for the same vehicle, which may have either a lower interest rate, a longer loan term, or both.

Qualifying for a lower interest rate is optimal for getting a lower monthly payment and saving money overall. If you only extend your loan term without getting a lower rate, you actually end up paying more in interest charges over the term of your loan.

Auto loans typically use a simple interest formula, meaning your interest charges add up daily. The longer your loan term, the more you pay the lender – it’s wise to choose the shortest loan term you can afford. If you only extend your loan term you may end up paying more than the vehicle’s value!

Refinancing can typically be done with your current lender or with another one. It’s a good idea to shop around for the best possible rate before going with the first offer you receive. When you shop for the same type of financing with multiple lenders in a two-week timeframe, it’s called rate shopping. When you do this only one credit inquiry impacts your credit score instead of multiple, minimizing the negative impact that hard pulls can have on your credit score.

Options for Bad Credit Borrowers

Taking out a subprime auto loan is a great way to improve your credit, so, if you’ve kept up with your loan to this point and just need a little wiggle room in your budget, refinancing could be for you. Your credit is an important factor in refinancing your auto loan because refinancing is typically reserved for people with good credit.

However, when a borrower already took out a subprime car loan, many refinancing lenders are willing to work with them as long as they’ve made improvements to their credit over the course of the loan. Better credit alone doesn’t qualify you for refinancing, though.

In order to qualify for refinancing, you, your vehicle, and your loan all need to meet the requirements of a lender. These vary, but in order to refinance your car you typically need to meet these qualifications:Refinancing Your Subprime Auto Loan

  • Have a better credit score than when you began the loan
  • Have had your auto loan for at least one year
  • Have an acceptable loan amount
  • Have no more than 100,000 miles on your vehicle
  • Car can’t be more than 10 years old
  • You must be current on your payments
  • There can’t be negative equity in the vehicle

Lenders that refinance typically prefer cars that are in good condition, that aren’t too old, and have lower mileage. Some lenders may not want to refinance a vehicle that’s at risk for breaking down or is depreciating quickly.

They’re generally looking for a loan that isn’t too new, or too close to being paid off as well. And, refinancers may also require that you haven’t missed a payment on your original car loan. A borrower whose current on their loan gives a lender confidence you’ll manage the new loan well.

Alternatives to Refinancing Your Subprime Auto Loan

If you’re not able to refinance your vehicle, you typically still have the option to trade it in for something more affordable. Even if you’re still paying on a loan, all you have to do is pay off the loan to release the lien on the car.

Even if it’s years from the end of your loan term, you may have a good chance at trading in your vehicle, especially now. Due to fluctuations in the auto market, used cars are in high demand currently, which means that dealerships may be willing to pay a higher price to get your used vehicle on their lot – even if you’re a bad credit borrower looking to trade-in.

If you still owe on an auto loan this gives you a better chance at selling your car for the amount you owe to the lender. It may even give you enough cash left over to put toward your next, more affordable vehicle!

Ready to Get Started?

If you think refinancing your subprime auto loan is the way to go, you can check out our resources, here. But, if you think that finding an affordable, used car with a lower monthly payment is the right choice for you, we want to get you started toward your goal today!

At Auto Credit Express, we’ve got a coast-to-coast network of special finance dealerships ready to work with borrowers who are struggling with credit challenges. To get connected to a dealer in your local area that’s signed up with subprime lenders, simply fill out our auto loan request form. It’s fast, free, and never carries any obligation.

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It’s Time to Break Up With Your First Credit Card

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©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

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Many of us got our first credit cards when we were either in college or in our early 20s. We likely did not have a full-time job with a steady salary, and if we did, it’s also likely we weren’t rolling in dough.

See: 13 Credit Cards That Every 30-Something Should Consider
Find: Surprising Uses for Your Credit Card Rewards

Given these circumstances, the first credit cards offered to us were probably of a particular kind: low credit limits, no prior credit history required, high annual percentage rate and overall easy to get. While these cards served us well as a way to build up our credit — and probably learn some lessons about money the hard way — it’s time to let go for a couple of reasons.

The Benefits of Upgrading Your Card

When you upgrade your card, it’s likely you will also upgrade the benefits. Some companies, like Discover, Credit One and Capital One, are popular choices as a first credit card. However, these companies have better options as you, and your finances, mature.

The Wall Street Journal suggests asking for an upgrade. “Customers need to phrase it as a ‘product change’ when they call the card company. A product change involves getting a new card with the same card provider and it typically allows a cardholder to keep everything else the same, including the account number and available credit.”

See: 10 Credit Cards That Have Gotten Better During the Pandemic
Find: Old-School Money Advice You Shouldn’t Follow Anymore

This could be a good idea for those who are not ready to jump ship from their first credit company just yet. It also removes the hassle of having to find a different provider, and probably the largest benefit of all — no hard credit check needed.

A “hard” credit check is when your credit is thoroughly examined, and it results in an inquiry showing up on your credit report. These are always necessary for opening a new line of credit, like a credit card or a mortgage, but too many inquiries can count against you and negatively affect your credit. A “soft” credit check, on the other hand, will not affect your credit score and is usually done for verification purposes, such as when you apply for new employment. Soft checks also happen with preapprovals.

See: Soft vs. Hard Credit Check — What’s the Difference?
Find: 30 Things You Do That Can Mess Up Your Credit Score

If you ask for a product change on a credit card, you won’t need to have that hard inquiry because the company already has a solid picture of your credit and has done an inquiry before. But it’s important to confirm that your credit history will be rolled over to the new card.

Switching credit institutions all together can be beneficial, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. While the rules of credit apply whether you have, for example, a Credit One or Chase credit card, it’s not a secret that certain credit cards have certain reputations — or that credit bureaus take notice.

For example, the Credit One Bank Visa card is “one of the most popular credit cards for people with bad credit, largely because it’s one of the few unsecured cards that applicants with poor credit scores can get approved for,” according to WalletHub.

See: Biden Wants to Shut Down Credit Bureaus – What Would That Mean for You?
Find: 10 Credit Score Myths You Need to Stop Believing

In contrast, American Express credit cards are best for people with credit scores over 700 and require at least “good” credit for approval, WalletHub adds. A good credit score is one that’s between 670 and 739, according to Fair Isaac.

So while both cards function the same way, the profile of those who own these cards might be different — or at least be perceived as such.

Theoretically, the same person could own both cards, but your money works for you more with an American Express vs. a Credit One. If you have a Credit One card but qualify for American Express, it might make sense to leave your old credit card behind. In addition to the immediate financial benefits, upgrading for a credit card company that has a reputation for being exclusive to those with good credit could help when you apply for a mortgage or apply for credit cards at specific stores.

See: This Is How Many Credit Cards You Should Have
Find: Credit Cards With the Best Incentives to Open in 2021

The first question you should ask yourself is, “What is my card doing best for me?” If the answer is helping you build your credit, getting you out of bad credit or allowing you to have credit when you otherwise would not be able to, then sticking with the same card, or at least the same credit card company, makes sense.

This allows you avoid a new credit inquiry on your credit report while still building and increasing your credit. Asking for a credit limit increase on your credit card if you’ve been with the same company for a while, you’ve been routinely paying off your card and you’re in good standing, is a good idea.

See: Expert Tips to Fix Your Credit on a Limited Income
Find: What Is a Credit Limit?

If you are shopping around for a new card that gives you rewards or benefits based on your purchases, starting small is paramount. It wouldn’t be prudent to go straight for a card that has a yearly fee, for example.

Start small, and start smart with credit limits, too. Going from a limit of $2,000 straight to a limit of $15,000 while your salary remains relatively unchanged is not always a good thing. Having a higher credit limit doesn’t necessarily mean that you are now richer or more responsible — it only means that you now have a greater risk of putting yourself into serious debt. Slowly increasing your credit limit makes your debt more manageable — and makes you look more responsible to credit bureaus.

Breaking up is hard to do, but if your finances have matured, it might be time to get a card that helps you reach your goals with cash-back rewards and points you can use for travel, groceries and other other items. Shopping around for a lower interest rate and a slightly increased credit limit can also help you move forward.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: It’s Time to Break Up With Your First Credit Card

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